Runner finds inner calling


Dellanira Alcauter

James Garcia not only runs during his Cross Country practice, but goes on five mile runs on his own around his house in order to improve.

The gun fires and my nerves disappear, everything suddenly becomes real. My body feels as though it’s flying over my feet as I run down the course. I hear the footsteps of the other runners behind me. I hear my mom’s voice in my head telling me to do my best, as she does before every one of my races.

For cross country runner James Garcia this is a normal afternoon. He is a sophomore who attends Pacific Law Academy, and runs for Stagg’s cross country team.

“I started running because I was trying to lose weight, and then started to really like it,” said Garcia when asked about his inspiration.

Garcia says that he started cross country not too long ago. His freshman year he had enjoyed a wide variety of sports like swimming, baseball, and football. Even though he feels swimming has physically prepared him for cross country, he has never felt the same passion doing any other sport beside running.

He tries to avoid eating tuna and peanut butter before a race.

“I’ll have pasta the night before and drink a lot of water,” said Garcia. “I try not to focus on a race until my last period in school then everything becomes real.”

To prepare for a race, he said he enjoys listening to music. His favorite song to warm up to is John Newman’s “Do You Still Love Me,” along with the group One Republic. “When I’m warming up I try to imagine myself coming in first.”

After a race if he still has energy, he feels disappointed in himself for not giving his all regardless of what place he comes in.

His life now practically revolves around sports, at home he only watches Sports Center. He hopes to get a scholarship to college for running and someday become a sports broadcaster.

Along with trying to convince his friends to start running, Garcia said he also has tried to inspire his mother to run with him.

Cross country, being a fall sport, forces him to handle all weather conditions. But running in the rain is his favorite.

“You don’t sweat as much,” Garcia said. “The rain falls on your hair. You feel hydrated; running in the rain motivates me.”

Garcia is close to teammate and runner So Her, junior. Garcia enjoys talking to him while at practice.

“He’s a great friend,” said Her. ” And during the race we’ll motivate one another.” Aside from Her, Garcia tells he has a father-son bond with his coach, Otha Dread.

“He’s dedicated to what he’s doing and he’s good at it,” said Dread. “I love all these kids. Cross country is a difficult race. It shows they really want to be here.”